Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

See other formats


406          ON  THE  CHANGE  OF  REF1UNGIBILITY  OF LIGHT.
incomparably stronger than that of a Leydeu jar. It might have been expected, therefore, that the radiation from lightning would be found to abound in invisible rays of excessively high refrangibility. Yet I could not make out in a satisfactory manner the absorption of the rays by glass, even by common window-glass. I do not wish to speak positively regarding the result of this observation, for of course observations with lightning are more difficult than those made with a machine which is under the control of the observer. Yet it did seem as if the spark from a Leyden jar was richer than lightning in rays of so high a refrangibility as to be stopped by glass. If this be really true, it must be attributed to one of two things, either the non-production of the rays in the first instance, in the case of lightning, or their absorption by the air or clouds in their passage from the place of the discharge. If they were not produced, that may be attributed to the rarity of the air at the height of the discharge, that is, at the height of the thunder-cloud. No doubt the metallic points of the discharger belonging to the electrical apparatus may have had an influence on the nature of the spark; but I am inclined to think that this influence, so far as it went, would have acted in the wrong direction, that is, would have tended to produce rays of lower, at the expense of those of higher refrangibility.
Note K.    Art, 220.
My attention has recently been called to a paper by M. Briirke (Poggcndorffs Annalen, B. v. (1<S45) S. ;";<);>), in which he describes some experiments which show that the different parts of the eye, and especially the crystalline lens, are far from transparent, with respect to the rays of high refrangibility. The eyes employed were those of oxen and some other animals; and the inquiry was carried on by means of the effect which light that hud passed through the part of the eye to be examined produced on a iilm of tincture of guaiacum that had been dried in the dark. Of eour.se the phenomena described in the present paper afford peculiar facilities for such an inquiry, and I had frequently thought of entering upon it, but have not yet made any observations. Independently of the facility of the observations, and the ad-